2091 Entering the City of Collapsed Space Once More
New Semi-Divinity realm cultivators had appeared amongst the four sects, and the number would only continue to increase with Zhang Xuan imparting the crux of Gods’ Intent to them. They thought that this would bring about an era of prosperity as cultivators reached greater heights, but if they failed to deal with Hall Master Kong properly… everything would just become history.
“There’s no feasible way to do so, unless…”
At this point, Du Qingyuan’s voice suddenly paused for a moment as a thought suddenly emerged in her head.
Du Qingyuan had a conflicted expression on her face for a moment before she finally spoke up hesitantly, “If we are able to find the source of the air of degeneration in the City of Collapsed Space, there might be a chance that we are able to acquire some Aura of Divinity…”
“The source of the air of degeneration? What does that have to do with anything?” Zhang Xuan asked with a frown.
He had been to the City of Collapsed Space once, and he knew just how frightening the air of degeneration there was. Even his Heaven’s Path zhenqi was unable to ward it off completely. The only thing that could curb it was Little Chick’s chicken soup.
It was a force which even Semi-Divinity realm cultivators were unable to expel from their body. If he wasn’t around back then, Jiang Yao would have been a lifeless corpse by now…
Why would Du Qingyuan ask him to trace down the source of the air of degeneration?
“Legend has it that the City of Collapsed Space isn’t a city native to the Forsaken Continent… Instead, it’s a city that has fallen from the Firmament, and the corpses of the gods are buried beneath it!” Du Qingyuan replied.
“A city that has fallen from the Firmament?” Zhang Xuan was slightly stunned.
Han Jianqiu and the others were taken aback as well. This was the first time they were hearing about this.
All along, the City of Collapsed Space had been a restricted zone for the cultivators. There was no one who could have imagined that it was actually a city from the Firmament!
“It’s said that the city suddenly fell from the heavens several thousand years ago. Back then, the phenomenon drew countless people to venture its depths, hoping to find the treasures of the gods, but as most of you would be able to guess, all of them died,” Du Qingyuan said.
“There is probably no one in the Forsaken Continent who knows about the true origin of the City of Collapsed Space anymore. I only happened to overhear the Spirit God speaking about the matter too…”
“The Spirit God?” Zhang Xuan’s body tensed up a little.
“Un. The Spirit God fell into a long moment of silence when she first heard about the City of Collapsed Space on the Forsaken Continent. After that, she unwittingly mentioned that it’s a city that has fallen from the Firmament due to the wars going on up there, and many gods have lost their lives in that city. She also explained that the air of degeneration is a product of the Aura of Divinity released by the decomposition of the gods’ corpses reacting with the environment of the Forsaken Continent, resulting in an aberration. If we are able to trace the origin of the air of degeneration, it might be possible for us to find some untainted Aura of Divinity to make a breakthrough…” Du Qingyuan said.
“So, you are saying that this is actually the Aura of Divinity too?”
Taking out a sliver of the air of degeneration he had stored in a jade bottle previously, Zhang Xuan remarked in astonishment.
He had taken quite a few of this when he went to the City of Collapsed Space a while ago. He also made use of it to kill a Semi-Divinity realm expert from the Hall of Gods too.
All along, while he did find it weird how there was actually something on the Azure which even Semi-Divinity realm cultivators weren’t able to deal with, he didn’t think too much into it. After all, nature could be extremely bewildering at times. However, if what Du Qingyuan said was true, everything would make sense.
It was a known fact that a cultivator would be doomed once the air of degeneration seeped into his body. No medicine could cure that at all. Even Zhang Xuan’s seemingly omnipotent Heaven’s Path zhenqi was unable to cleanse the air of degeneration either.
From this, it was clear that the air of degeneration was something that had surpassed the level of the Azure.
Thus, it was indeed plausible for the air of degeneration to have originated from the Aura of Divinity.
Only gods possessed the ability to render even Heavenly Semi-Divinity realm cultivators utterly helpless.
“This is a matter I heard the Spirit God speak about in passing, so I can’t affirm its authenticity. Even if it’s true, there’s a chance that the origin of the air of degeneration has been corrupted too. Furthermore, I believe all of you are aware of just how frightening the air of degeneration can be. Just being afflicted with the slightest hint of it is enough to seal one’s fate… This is also the reason why I wasn’t able to verify it even when I have received this piece of intelligence,”
Du Qingyuan said.
“I trust Ruoxin. If those words came from her mouth, there’s a high likelihood that it’ll be true,” Zhang Xuan spoke up.
Just the fact that there was something peculiar about the air of degeneration wasn’t enough to verify that it had originated from the Aura of Divinity.
However, he knew Luo Ruoxin’s character well. She wasn’t the type of person to speak of something she wasn’t certain of. There was likely a basis behind her claim.
Since that was the case, it would indeed be worth investigating the source of the air of degeneration.
“Since that’s the case, I’ll head to the City of Collapsed Space with Palace Master Du. As for the rest of you, I’ll entrust you with the important job of making preparations for the final battle in case we fail,” Zhang Xuan instructed.
Despite the risks, this was a trip they would have to make.
He wasn’t doing this just so he could deal with Kong shi. More importantly, he had to reach the level of the gods in order to ascend to the Firmament.
Only then would he be able to find Luo Ruoxin…
“Rest assured, teacher. We’ll make sure that everything is in place by the time you return!” Han Jianqiu declared resolutely.
“Teacher?” Palace Master Du was surprised by how Han Jianqiu was addressing Zhang Xuan. “Han Jianqiu, what did you address Zhang Xuan as earlier? Did you… acknowledge Zhang Xuan as your teacher?”
As they had gotten right into the serious matters as soon as she appeared, Du Qingyuan was still unaware that the heads of the other sects had already acknowledged Zhang Xuan as their teacher.
“Indeed. Kui Xiao, Qin Yuan, and I have acknowledged Sect Leader Zhang as our teacher,” Han Jianqiu replied with a smile.
It was unheard of for powerhouses like them to actually acknowledge a young man in his twenties as their teacher. However, they didn’t regret their decision. If not for the young man’s teaching, they wouldn’t have been able to make a breakthrough to Heavenly Semi-Divinity realm so easily.
The rest of you did so too?” Du Qingyuan was flabbergasted.
One must know that all three of them were the strongest existences on the Forsaken Continent, but they were actually able to lower their pride and acknowledge Zhang Xuan as their teacher…
She did know that there was something extraordinary about Zhang Xuan, but even this was a little too much for her to accept.
Noticing Du Qingyuan’s shock, Zhang Xuan chirped in with a smile, “I don’t mind if you wish to acknowledge me as your teacher too.”
It would be for the best if Du Qingyuan could bring him a golden page too. In any case, he would only accept her as an ordinary student and not a direct disciple, so there was no need for him to hesitate too much over this.
Eh? I don’t want to.” Taken aback by the abrupt offer, Du Qingyuan quickly shook her head and turned him down unhesitatingly. Then, realizing that she might have been a little too rude, she quickly added, Thanks for the offer.”
There was no denying that she was a little moved by the request. She knew that Zhang Xuan was the lover of the Spirit God, and she had no doubt that he would eventually achieve great things in the future.
However, she simply couldn’t accept the act of acknowledging someone so much younger than her as her teacher.
“I see. It’s fine then. Let’s set off to the City of Collapsed Space now.”
Zhang Xuan knew that it was unlikely for the golden page to be formed if Du Qingyuan wasn’t willing, so he didn’t insist on the matter. He took the lead and began heading toward the City of Collapsed Space, and Du Qingyuan followed him closely.
After comprehending the Pathos of Heavens, his speed had become much faster than before. The previous time around, it took him half a day in order to get to the desert above the City of Collapsed Space. This time around, it only took him four hours.
He swiftly found the entrance once more and descended beneath the sand.
Tracing his footsteps, he quickly arrived at where he saved Jiang Yao back then.
Du Qingyuan took a look at the surroundings before remarking, “This isn’t it. We have to find the very center of the City of Collapsed Space.”
In truth, she hadn’t been to the City of Collapsed Space before. However, the predecessors of the Starchaser Palace had been here before, and they had left records of their expedition behind. It was through these records that Jiang Yao was able to lure Fu Chenzi and the others into a trap, nearly killing them.
The two of them continued proceeding ahead.
Through his superior strength, Zhang Xuan was able to easily deal with the Degeneration Beasts that stood in their way. There wasn’t anything that could pose a threat to him along the way.
Following behind the young man, Du Qingyuan felt a little conflicted within as she watched the young man dealing with those bizarre creatures, which she would have never dared to approach, with ease.
This wasn’t the first time she was witnessing Zhang Xuan’s strength anymore, but she still found herself astounded by how powerful he was. She couldn’t help but wonder just how he cultivated to become so powerful within such a short period of time.
They continued to search the area for another two hours, but they didn’t manage to find what they were looking for.
Realizing that it was futile to search this massive city aimlessly, Zhang Xuan finally came to a halt and said, “We won’t be able to find the origin of the air of degeneration like that.”
“What do you propose then?” Du Qingyuan asked with a frown.
Her understanding of this place stopped at the records of the predecessors, so naturally, she was at a complete loss of how they should look for the source of the air of degeneration too.
Otherwise, she wouldn’t have allowed herself to be dragged aimlessly around the place by the Zhang Xuan either. Zhang Xuan pondered for a moment before speaking up, “I think we can try this instead…”
His clone appeared before him.
Given his current strength, there was pretty much no one who could hurt him on the Azure anymore. As such, it was no longer a big deal for him to reveal the existence of his clone anymore.
“Is that your clone?” Du Qingyuan was slightly confused.
She didn’t understand what Zhang Xuan was trying to do. Did his clone possess some kind of mysterious ability that would help them in this situation?
“Stand properly!” Zhang Xuan instructed as he took out the Tongshang Sword.
Then, without any hesitation, he slashed the sword at his clone’s arm.
As soon as the clone was injured, the surrounding air of degeneration immediately surged in furiously. The sheer concentration of it caused it to materialize as a grayish fog in the surroundings.
“It should be safe to assume that the origin would have a higher concentration of the air of degeneration,” Zhang Xuan explained the motive of his actions.
Understanding Zhang Xuan’s intent, Palace Master Du’s eyes lit up and she exclaimed in excitement, “You’re right!”
But of course, that was easier said than done. The City of Collapsed Space was a confined space, and over the past several thousand years, the air of degeneration had diffused to near homogeneity in the area. While it was likely that there was a concentration gradient, it was so slight that it would be nearly imperceptible.
Thus, they had to rile up the air of degeneration in the surroundings a little before they would be able to detect any difference.
“That way!” Du Qingyuan quickly pointed a way out.
Nodding his head in agreement, Zhang Xuan and his clone quickly headed in that direction.
Every now and then, when they weren’t sure where to go anymore, Zhang Xuan would unhesitatingly bestow a slash upon his clone in order to trigger his compass function. By the eighth time, the clone was already on the verge of exploding from rage. Fortunately, a decrepit temple appeared before them at this moment.
Despite having been reduced to ruins, this temple still spanned over a distance of more than 10 li, making it hard to imagine just how grand it was before it collapsed. Due to the corrosion of the air of degeneration, the shattered bricks were covered with a thin layer of darkness.
The land was completely barren, devoid of any greenery. From time to time, a sinister gale would blow over, causing one to shiver from the eeriness.
“Is this it?” Du Qingyuan frowned doubtfully.
Despite the bizarre nature of the air of degeneration, there were still some unique plants that managed to blossom in such a climate. Thus, it was hard to imagine that the origin was located in a place as barren as this.
“It should be…” Zhang Xuan replied.
Till now, the wound on his clone’s body was still bleeding. Judging from the concentration of air of degeneration in the air, they should be at the origin. There was no other place in the City of Collapsed Space that felt as discomforting as here.
“We should hurry up and search the area then.”
Not wanting to linger around this area for too long, Du Qingyuan quickly examined the ruins carefully, fearing that she would miss out the slightest detail.
On the other hand, Zhang Xuan didn’t seem to be in much of a rush. He traded glances with his clone as they continued perceiving their surroundings carefully.
A moment later, they slowly walked over to an area filled with rubble.
Zhang Xuan lifted his hand, and with a powerful wave of his palm, the rubble on the floor was swept to the side, revealing an uneven ground filled with depressions.
Dark streaks scarred the ground, hinting at the existence of a sinister force.
Zhang Xuan took out his Tongshang Sword and flicked out a piece of boulder from the ground. Taking a closer look at the boulder, he found that even its insides had been dyed in darkness. A bizarre glint could be seen reflecting off its surface. It felt like a glaring beast that would devour one’s soul whole if one were to stare at it for too long.
Zhang Xuan carefully touched the boulder with his finger.
A book was compiled in the Library of Heaven’s Path.
“Godblood Rock, formed through assimilating the blood of the gods…”
This was a part of the description written in the book.
“We’re at the right spot…” Zhang Xuan nodded before a slight frown crept onto his forehead.
When he first caught sight of the boulder, he found it extremely familiar. It was just that there were some anomalies regarding its color. So, he dug out a piece to take a closer look with the Library of Heaven’s Path, and it affirmed his thoughts.
If this was the Godblood Rock, the black streaks on the ground would indeed have been caused by the flow of god blood.
The only doubt he harbored was that… why did this Godblood Rock feel so crass? Unlike the Godblood Rock formed through Luo Ruoxin’s blood, it felt unrefined and rough.
Could it be that there were different tiers of god blood too?